Why reading footballers on Twitter loses some of the magic

Twitter is the strangest of strange beasts. Unlike any other social networking tool or resource it genuinely has the power to bring supporters a glimpse into the lives of a variety of sportsmen that we as fans may never have the chance to meet.

It is a rare view, and whilst the site has gone a long way to breaking down that wall between players and fans, is this a good thing?

When Danny Welbeck starts tweeting about the adverts he has seen on television, or Glen Johnson gives constant updates as to how much ‘24’ he has been watching, questions as to why we should take such a close interest in what these players think about the most mundane of topics, inevitably rear their head.

It is not simply what is written that frustrates. When you see men capable of such incredible physical and technical feats on the pitch, unable to understand the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ or spell basic words correctly, it is hard not to lose a little respect for them.

Whilst players are not there to be judged from a grammatical point of view, it is a surprise that in a world where image is paramount, that players are not advised to check what they tweet.

Obviously the content of any such post is heavily scrutinised – just ask Darren Bent or Ryan Babel about the trouble a post can cause, yet the actual way these tweets are written is not heavily guarded.

On the other side of the coin, you find yourself reaching a point where you become overly impressed when a player uses a word that an 11 year-old student should comfortably be able to incorporate into their written work. A lucid and intelligent footballer is, and should not be, a rarity.

Of course it can work both ways. Since Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere joined Twitter I have been impressed by his eloquence – his sensible, well constructed posts hinting at a maturity beyond his 19 years of age.

Wilshere’s words over the last two weeks have been particularly impressive. Despite hearing some Arsenal fans lament the players’ constant apologising for defeats, Wilshere’s carry on regardless attitude has given some Gunners followers a welcome boost in amongst a series of disappointing results over the last two weeks.

In fact, whilst his captain and manager have bemoaned poor officiating and a string of injuries, Wilshere’s tweets have been optimistic and upbeat.

Many top players still avoid the move into social networking territory. Perhaps wisely the extra scrutiny on what they write for millions to read is something a few could do without.

Nevertheless, the overall presence of players on the network provides something of a mixed bag. I might be in the minority, but I would far rather judge players on what I see on the pitch than what I read on the screen.

To get stuck into my powers of grammar, follow me on Twitter.